For fifty years, Wakayama, Japan and Richmond, BC, Canada have been sister cities, with the history between our two homes dating back further to the 19th century, with Richmond’s first Japanese immigrants arriving in Richmond. The Wakayama – Richmond Youth Art Exhibition is a way to continue and renew this connection into the future, reaching across the ocean to connect new generations through the accessible medium of art creation.
For this exhibition, the Richmond Arts Coalition collaborated with the City of Richmond’s Sister City Program, which builds meaningful community connections while learning about other cultures by engaging the community through activities that seek to provide joint-learning opportunities and build cultural harmony. Through the Sister City Advisory Committee, Richmond City Council supports a number of visit and non-visit activities with Richmond’s Sister and Friendship Cities including Pierrefonds, Canada (1967); Wakayama, Japan (1973); Xiamen, China (2012) and Qingdao, China (2008). The Sister City Advisory Committee is a Council-appointed volunteer committee that has supported the Sister City Program since 1974.
In November 2023, Japanese Professional Artist Hisayuki Doi led an online workshop on watercolour painting with Jeffrey Duenas’s grades 4-5 class at Lord Byng Elementary School. The students drew and painted persimmons, daikon, and mikans, which are native to Wakayama. Translator Mayumi Ueno facilitated the communication between the artist and the class.
Artist Hisayuki Doi was born in Wakayama, Japan, in 1976. Moved by 19th-century French landscape painting, he started oil painting at the age of 21. He would in time travel to France to work “en plein air” in the countryside that originally inspired him. He has received numerous awards and held various art exhibitions across Japan.
We also invited a group of Kataribe Juniors to work with Richmond, BC professional artist Weila Suo in an online workshop, assisted by translator Mayumi Ueno. The students drew and painted cranberries, turnips, and pumpkins that are grown in Richmond.
These youth artists gather in Mio every Sunday afternoon to learn English and the history and culture of Mio and the greater Hidaka region of Wakayama. They were led by Director Atsushi Iwanaga. Kataribe Juniors is jointly organized by Kyoto University of Foreign Studies, Specified Nonprofit Corporation Hinomisaki America-mura, and Mihama Town Hall (Wakayama). To learn more: wakayama-americamura.com/about-kataribe-juniors/
Professional artist Weila Suo obtained her bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts from Emily Carr University of Art and Design. She has been working as an independent visual artist and an experienced fine art instructor over 10 years. After graduated from Emily Carr, she has worked for several local institutes such as the Youth Program offered by the School District No. 38 (Richmond), S.Y Leung Creative Arts Studio, W Gallery and Omega Gallery. She specializes in drawing, watercolor, illustration, and oil painting. Learn more about her here: richmondartscoalition.com/portfolios/weila-suo/
We acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia.
We also acknowledge the operating funding support of the City of Richmond.